Skift Take

Starwood may be in play right now, but that doesn't mean it's not in a position to make a move. Smart play by the brand to pick up property in need of some real management.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced Monday the signing of SLS Vegas to its Tribute Portfolio, the company’s soft brand of independent properties, in Starwood’s largest hotel rooms deal in North America since before the 2008 depression.

SLS Vegas is made up of three different towers totaling more than 1,600 guest rooms and suites. The 289-room Lux Tower at SLS will undergo renovations to be converted into a W Hotel in 2016, marking the W brand’s first entrance to the Vegas strip. The remaining two towers, featuring 1,324 rooms, will operate as SLS Las Vegas, an independent property under the Tribute umbrella that will be rebranded December 2015 without undergoing any renovations.

Until last Thursday, SLS was associated with Hilton’s Curio brand, and guests benefitted from the brand’s loyalty program.

The signing helped to expand Starwood’s global footprint by nearly half a percent, said interim CEO Adam Aaron.

“This is a perfect example of what Tribute Portfolio was designed to do—bring the power of Starwood to great independent hotels, while giving our Starwood Preferred Guest members and global guests more access to sought after destinations around the world,” Aaron said.

Last year, Las Vegas recorded more than 40 million visitors to Sin City, the first time in history Vegas saw such numbers. The destination also runs one of the highest average occupancy rates of any city in America, adds Dave Marr, global brand leader, Tribute Portfolio.

“The signing of SLS Las Vegas comes at an opportune time for the market,” Marr says. “Las Vegas as a destination is seeing tremendous growth, thanks in part to the $9B investment in recent and planned developments. This includes a $2.5B expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center, which is in close proximity to the resort.”

Las Vegas sits high atop SPG members’ lists of places to travel, Marr says, referencing a 2015 survey showing that SPG members wished Starwood had a stronger presence in the Vegas market.

The market presence grows not only with the addition of SLS Vegas as part of the Tribute portfolio but also with the introduction of W Las Vegas to the market, set to open 2016.

“It also allows us to debut our iconic W brand on the world famous Las Vegas Strip, an incomparable stage for the dynamic energy and vibrant scene of W Hotels.”

The W Las Vegas will feature a W Living Room, an entrance for W guests, a new W-branded meeting and event space, signature spa, state-of-the-art fitness center, and an exclusive outdoor WET pool deck and bar.

Though the W conversion is the brand’s debut to the Vegas strip, it will become Starwood’s fifth hotel in the Vegas market along with The Westin Las Vegas Hotel, Casino & Spa; The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa; Four Points by Sheraton Las Vegas East Flamingo; and Element Las Vegas Summerlin.

The announcement comes amid talks of a possible acquisition by Hyatt.

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Tags: starwood, w hotels

Photo credit: SLS Vegas features more than 1,600 rooms and suites. Facebook/SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino

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